Thursday, October 6, 2011
Lawsuit against Opus Dei for fraud and breach of contract
The editor of Catholica has been aware for several days of a fairly sensational email that has been circulated to Sydney priests by a former Sydney-based Opus Dei accountant at Warrane College, Dennis Dubro. We have now confirmed the authenticity of the email and are able to provide the following details, including the text of the email...
The background to this story appears to be a court case in New York where Dennis Dubro a physicist and former long-serving member of Opus Dei has had a case dismissed on a legal technicality where he was seeking damages from the organisation for fraud and breach of contract. Mr Dubro has been seeking wider support for an enquiry and settlement of the injustice he feels has been inflicted on him. Catholica is also aware that the story has been picked up in the Spanish language press but to our knowledge Catholica is the first to break the story in the English speaking media.
The Opus Dei prelature has long had management responsibility for Warrane College — which is the Catholic residential college within the University of New South Wales.
Following is the text of the email that has been circulated to priests and others in the Sydney region.
The text of Mr Dubro's email to priests and other supporters...
I am emailing you interested parties to say that my lawsuit against Opus Dei for fraud and breach of contract was dismissed in New York court. It wasn't dismissed for lack of grounds, but because the statute of limitations had expired. I am not sure how good or competent my lawyer was. He told me the statute of limitations, from time of discovery of the fraud, was six years. Now he says the law was changed in 2004 and shortened to two years.
As a quick review, Opus Dei violated their commitment to the Church (and to me, as a member), as is supposedly documented in the approved but secret statutes and constitutions, that members are entitled to carry out their professional work in complete freedom, with integrity and with professional excellence. I am a physicist, but Opus Dei, assigned me to work in accounting in our corporate apostolate, a men's dormitory, called Warrane College in Sydney, Australia. I was deceptively drawn in slowly, with increasing levels of involvement, into a set of corrupt accounts. I raised a number of concerns, but I was never given full access to the accounts, nor fully informed of the purposes of my activities, and I was lead to believe that I was only providing summaries of figures supplied to me, for the few months that I held the position. We were audited in less than a year and written up for gross negligence. I was blamed and removed from office. And eventually, when I refused to remain silent about the gross dishonesty, questions of conscience and lack of propriety, I was dismissed from Opus Dei, which is also a violation of canon law and their secret statutes and constitutions, which have supposedly been approved by the Church. I was thrown out on the street after having given them everything I owned or earned for seventeen years. It was only after my first complaints to the Church were ignored, that a priest-canon lawyer recommended that I have recourse to civil action.
With regard to the operations of Opus Dei, there is continual concern about their secret "old-boy" networks. And nothing less happened in my lawsuit. Cross-referencing an Internet search with a lawyer's directory, I came up with a short list of five lawyers in Manhattan to contact to represent me in filing my lawsuit. The fifth lawyer agreed to take my case. The second lawyer that I spoke to asked me how I got his name. I was quite surprised to find that when my lawsuit was filed, out of all the lawyers practicing in Manhattan, the second lawyer that I spoke to, who refused to take my case, was the one defending Opus Dei. After the case was dismissed, I telephoned him to address, simply on a man-to-man basis, this gross appearance of impropriety. As soon as I identified myself, this lawyer hung up on me.